Felon gets life without parole in rape of girl

JONESBORO — John Henry Davenport gambled on a Clayton County jury and lost big time.

Davenport, 50, rejected an offer from the state to plead guilty to raping a young girl in exchange for 25 years in prison without parole, said senior prosecutor Jeff Gore. She was 10 when the rapes began and 14 when she reported Davenport to police.

“We were trying to avoid having the victim go through a trial,” he said. “We were hoping to keep the young girl from reliving what happened to her. But he rejected the offer so we went to trial.”

In less than an hour of deliberations, the jury threw the book at him. Davenport was convicted Thursday on all six counts of rape — three statutory and three forcible. Because he has prior felony convictions, a life without parole sentence is mandatory under Georgia law, said Gore.

“We had an extremely strong case and are happy with the verdict,” he said. “The victim is relieved she will never have to worry about him again.”

The facts are horrendous. The girl testified Davenport began raping her when she was 10. She told police he threatened to kill her mother if she told anyone. At 14, she became pregnant and reported the assaults.

“This guy is an absolute monster,” said Gore.

The pregnancy was terminated and a DNA test on the fetus proved Davenport was the father.

“He initially denied doing anything but when confronted with the DNA evidence, he admitted it,” Gore said. “But he claimed it wasn’t forceful and that she initiated the sex.”